25 Effective Chemical Peels for Acne Scars That Are Safe to Use

Let’s face it, acne scars can be a pain to deal with, no matter who you are. This is a skin issue that threatens to mark you for life. The problem with this kind of scar is that there are times when they don’t fade away from your skin on their own over time. This is why some experts say that you need an effective skin treatment to deal with them, such as chemical peels for acne scars.

A chemical peel works by utilizing a kind of chemical solution in order to improve the appearance of the skin on your face, hands and neck. The chemical solution that is applied onto your skin exfoliates it in such a way that a layer gently gets peeled off. This gives way to the appearance of new skin that is blemish free.

According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, a chemical peel works not just on acne scarring, but on a number of other skin problems, as well. These include other kinds of scars, wrinkles, sun damaged skin, sagging skin, crow’s feet, freckles, dull complexion, melasma, discoloration, age spots and aging skin.

actinic keratosis
Photo by Future FamDoc / CC BY-SA

Generally, chemical peels are classified as superficial, medium and deep. A superficial chemical peel is the mildest of them all. They are used to treat mild skin discoloration or rough skin. Meanwhile, a medium peel works to remove damage skin cells that is causing unwanted scars to appear. This kind of peel can also make rough skin smooth and treat precancerous skin growths such actinic keratosis.

In contrast from the first two, a deep chemical peel works by removing damaged skin cells from the body. It is also able to remove age spots, freckles and moderate lines on your face. Regardless of which type of chemical peel you think you need, it helps to know which chemical peel brands are proven effective and safe to use on your own at home.

The Best of Chemical Peels for Acne Scars: What You Can Safely Try Today

Lucky for you, there are now a number of recommended chemical peel products that you can readily purchase in beauty stores, pharmacies and even supermarkets. Here are some of the safest and most effective ones that you can try at home today:

1. DERMA doctor Kakadu C Intensive Vitamin C Peel Pads with Ferulic Acid & Vitamin E – This chemical peel for acne scars is so gentle on the skin, it has been declared safe enough for daily use. It’s perfect for all skin types. It also contains Australian Lime Caviar to keep you protected from free radicals.

This peel has been proven to be effective in making your skin feel softer, smoother and more elastic. It also works to ensure that your pores are minimized to help avoid any more skin breakouts in the future.

For best results, use this peel once every day. Leave it on for one to three minutes before washing it off. Your skin will be sun-sensitive afterwards, so be sure to apply an SPF 30 sun protection lotion or cream afterwards.

2. La Prairie 3-Minute Chemical Peel – Now, here’s a proof that chemical peeling does not have to take hours to be effective. Wouldn’t it be nice if it only takes three minutes for you to get blemish-free skin? This peel is also made with a blend of fruit acid and salicylic acid that is sure to dry out acne scars caused by skin problems like pimples.

This peel also guarantees that you will not experience any redness or burning sensations after using it. That means you can go about your day right after the treatment.

apple3. Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Full Strength – They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. In this case, an apple can keep your skin from being acne scarred for life, too. This peel works effectively on just about any skin type, unless you have sensitive skin. Otherwise, it’s the perfect product to regularly use, especially when you have a skin obsession.

Made with hydroxy fruit acids, the Green Apple chemical peel can be readily used by anyone age 20 and above. It is particularly good at treating uneven skin tone, skin discoloration, rough skin texture and dark spots. It is also fortified with vitamin A to help those fine lines disappear.

4. StriVectinLABS 5-Minute Weekly Glycolic Peel – In just five minutes, this chemical peel for acne scars can change your life for the better. It exfoliates dull skin cell while resurfacing new, blemish free skin in two steps.

First, you apply the Detoxifying Primer before applying the AHA Activator. The result is an exfoliating system that improves cell turnover on your skin surface effectively while also reducing any appearance of wrinkles or fine lines.

This peel is also highly recommended for those with mature skin. It fights off any sign of aging while bringing out your inner glow to make you look younger naturally.

5. Obagi Blue Peel – This in-office chemical peel product from Obagi utilizes an ingredient known as trichloroacetic acid or TCA to help rejuvenate the skin. It is said to be effective in treating a number of skin problems. Aside from acne scars, the Blue Peel can readily treat facial lines, uneven pigmentation and other skin blemishes.

6. Bliss that’s incredi-‘peel’! – These peel pads are practical to have around as they don’t need to be rinsed off once applied. The glycolic acid and vitamin in these pads also work to make any wrinkles, dark spots, fine lines and other skin blemishes disappear.

The best part about this product is that it was designed with a time-release technology to make sure that it continues to work wonders on your skin long after you have applied it.

7. Skin Beauty Chemical Peel for Oily Skin and Wrinkles – This chemical peel is said to be effective not just on your acne scars, but on sunspots and uneven skin tone as well.

Just a word of caution, this product is not for first timers as this peel is particularly strong. You may also experience a slight burning sensation when you try this product out. Be sure to take yourself to a dermatologist if it doesn’t go away.

Papaya8. Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel – Here is one chemical peel that makes you feel like you’re enjoying the tropics. This peel is made with natural fruit enzymes coming from pineapples and papaya. These enzymes have also been combined with milk protein, vitamin E and marine algae to make sure that your skin stay’s moisturized while it is getting repaired.

It’s a calming product that gently works to exfoliate your skin. It’s a non-abrasive product that will leave your skin smoother, softer and more radiant. For best results, Elemis recommends that you use this chemical peel twice a week.

9. Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Medi-Spa Peel – 15 kinds of acids have been combined inside this chemical peel for acne scars to make sure that you will remain blemish-free for life.

This peel was formulated by New York City dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross so that patients can readily make their skin more radiant without having to go to a clinic. Applying this takes two steps. The first step applies exfoliating acids on the skin while the second step delivers alphahydroxy acid to keep your skin from aging.

With continued use, you can expect your fine lines, uneven skin tone and rough skin texture to disappear. You will also be left with smaller pores and a smoother skin. For best results, Dr. Gross recommends using this peel once a week.

10. Skyn Iceland Nordic Skin Peel with Biospheric Complex – This product uses double-duty peel pads made with fruit enzymes and lactic acid to gently exfoliate the skin. it’s also got antibacterial properties to remove oil and dirt from your pores, so that your skin will feel smooth and fresh after every treatment.

For best results, you can also pair this skin peel with ClearPores Facial & Body Care Systems. It comes with a supplement, facial wash and face cream to ensure that your face will always have a nice glow.

11. Skin Obsession 40% Glycolic Acid Peel for Acne and Scars – This chemical peel by Skin Obsession is said to be one of the mildest among all glycolic acid treatments for acne scars.

This peel is perfect for men and women. Some customers have come to call this product the lunch time peel, as it makes acne scars fade remarkably fast. As far as chemical peel cost goes, this product has also been proven to be more cost effective than any other clinical chemical peel treatment.

Amore Pacific
Photo by Republic of Korea / CC BY-SA

12. Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel – This peel uses a plant-based papain enzyme in order to rid the skin of dull surfaces cells as well as toxins, thereby making the skin cleaner and healthier. It also contains licorice acid potassium to keep the skin smooth and supple.

For best results, Amore Pacific recommends that you use this peel two to three times a week, massaging it on the affected area for 30 to 45 seconds.

13. Carbon 30% Glycolic Acid At-Home Chemical Peel – This peel recommended to be used at least once a week. It is also effective for removing crow’s feet and fine lines. The best part about this chemical peel is that it also promotes production of both elastin and collagen in the skin, leaving skin smooth and rejuvenated.

Another great thing about this peel is that it is quite friendly on the budget. A bottle of it can easily give you between 12 to 15 full facial peels.

14. DERMA doctor Physical Chemistry Microdermabrasion + Multiacid Chemical Peel – What’s unique about this peel is that it is also an effective microdermabrasion therapy for acne scars that you can easily do at home.

According to DERMAdoctor, this peel is particularly effective in treating dull complexion, dry skin, enlarged pores, post acne skin discoloration, sun damaged skin, melasma, aging skin, freckles and fine lines. For best result, it is recommended to use this peel once or twice a week.

15. Avon ANEW Advanced Retexturizing Chemical Peel – With this chemical peel from Avon, you will feel like you’ve just brought the ultimate spa experience home. This glycolic peel works to effectively exfoliate your skin, leaving it renewed and refreshed.

To apply this, you simply have to glide its pads all over your face and allow the peel to dry. Afterwards, you will see your skin blemishes disappear. Not only that, your glowing skin will also feel a lot firmer. For best results, use this peel two to three times a week.

acne scars
Photo by Laura Lewis / CC BY

16. Kiehl’s Over-Night Biological Peel – If you’re wondering about how to get rid of acne scars while you are fast asleep, then this peel is probably perfect for you. Kiehl’s overnight peel is readily recommended by dermatologists as it is both oil-free and non-comedogenic.

Made of hydroxyethylpiperazine ethane sulfonic acid, sodium hyaluronate and an enzyme activator called urea, Kiehl’s peel feels mild on the skin as it works gently peel off skin blemishes. Not only is this peel effective in exfoliating the skin, it also works to reduce your pore size so that bacteria and dirt will not clog your skin easily.

17. Dr. Shong 50% Lactic Acid Gel Chemical Peel – This is another fabulous chemical peel for acne scars that is perfect for just about any budget as you can easily do 15 to 20 full facial peel treatments from a single bottle.

Compared to other chemical peel ingredients, lactic acid is relatively mild, which means it is safe to use by those with extremely sensitive skin. This ingredient is highly effective in treating acne scars, dark spots, wrinkle’s, crow’s feet, fine lines and aging signs. Not only that, lactic acid is also great at removing dead skin cells while encouraging new ones to generate faster.

Since this peel is relatively strong, it is recommended that you only apply this once a week. Users are also discouraged from exposing their face to the sun within 24 hours after applying this peel. That also means that you should not attempt to try this peel on your face while you are in the middle of a beach holiday.

18. Philosophy The Microdelivery In-Home Vitamin C Peptide Peel – Regular users of this chemical peel for acne scars call this a wonder peel for a simple reason. While it is effectively exfoliating your skin to rid it of dirt and blemishes, it is also hydrating it with the help of peptides and vitamin C.

This way, your face looks refreshed after every treatment. You might also be interested to know that this two-step peel also repairs hyperpigmented, aging and sun-damaged skin.

Salicylic Acid
Photo by Obli / CC BY-SA

19. Perfect Image Salicylic Acid 20% Gel Peel – Enhanced with Tea Tree Oil & Green Tea Extract – Whatever kind of skin breakouts you’ve got, this peel with tea tree oil and green tea extract from Perfect Image will work to remove it. This means that aside from acne, this gel peel can remove all of your unwanted whiteheads and blackheads, too.

What’s unique about this peel is that it also contains comfrey extract, which is naturally rich in allantoin. This readily speeds up the process of tissue healing and repair while also treating any existing skin inflammation.

20. Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads – These peel pads uses a combination of glycolic acid and lactic acid to rid your face of dead surface skin cells while promoting cellular turnover. It also contains salicylic acid, which is responsible for preventing any future skin breakouts while also loosening the sebum within your pores.

This peel product also contains gamma amino butyric acid, which acts as a neurotransmitter inhibitor that calms skin receptors down to decrease the appearance of fine lines on your face. It also contains green tea extract, which prevents free radicals from attacking your skin.

21. Perfect Image Lactic 50% Gel Peel Enhanced with Kojic Acid & Bearberry Extract – This chemical peel does more than just exfoliating the skin. It also helps lighten skin pigmentation by inhibiting the very enzyme in our body from producing any excess melanin. Use this peel to remove your age spots, wrinkles and fine lines.

22. Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask – You may not know it, but pumpkin enzymes are naturally affective in removing your dead surface skin cells. This chemical peel for acne scars also contains alphahydroxy acids, which works to remove dull surface cells on your skin. The result? You get healthy and visibly glowing skin in no time. For best results, use this chemical peel mask once or twice a week.

23. Darphin Mild Aroma Peeling – If you are looking for a chemical peel for acne scars that is gentle but effective, then this peel developed by Darphin is for you. It removes all of your dead skin cells along with any other impurities without causing any burning sensation on your skin. This way, you get healthy, glowing skin without having to worry about experiencing allergic reactions.

For those suffering from dry skin, Darphin recommends using this peel every 10 days. Should you have oily skin, however, use this mild peel three times a week for best results.

wrinkles24. Cosmedica Skincare Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum – This chemical peel not only removes dull skin cells gently from your skin, it also keeps your face from aging another day by keeping it well hydrated. Forget about getting older, this product also effectively reverses your aging process, stimulating the skin to heal and produce more collagen.

Because of this, you will notice your fine lines, age spots and wrinkles disappear, along with your other skin blemishes. This peel doesn’t just work to make your skin look more youthful, it tightens it too. Get ready to feel young again.

25. Skincare Organic Mineral Peel Face With Brightening Agents – Don’t you just hate that you end up with cakey makeup because of your acne scars? Well, this mineral peel can fix you right up.

This peel uses an all-natural enzyme exfoliant to gently remove any dead skin cell or skin blemish from your face within seconds. This also means you will be able to readily exfoliate your skin while on the go, making it a perfect must-have for today’s busy and beauty conscious women. With this peel, you can easily work on bringing out your inner glow, even when you’re still in the office.

To keep your skin youthful, smooth and healthy, this peel also contains several natural ingredients including licorice root, milk thistle, jojoba oil, mugwort extract and aloe vera. For best results, use it three to four times a week.

Word of Caution: What to Remember Before You Get a Chemical Peel for Acne Scars

Right about now, you may be quite excited to try some of the top chemical peels available in stores today. Before you start applying it on your face however, it helps to first conduct a little patch test. This will make sure that the chemical peel product that you chose can be used on your skin without causing any dangerous reactions. This is especially recommended if you have extremely sensitive skin.

patch test
Photo by Jan Polak / CC BY-SA

When you’re ready, conduct a patch test in four easy steps:

  1. Applying some of the peel on the skin below your ear if you are going to put the peel on your face, and on your wrist area if you plan to put the peel on your hands.
  2. Leave the peel on your skin for one minute or longer, depending on the kind of peel that you are using. Wash it off immediately should you feel a burning sensation or should it get extremely uncomfortable.
  3. Wash off the peel.
  4. For superficial peels, just observe your skin for 24 hours with regard to how it reacts to the peel. For medium to deep chemical peels, wait for 48 hours.

The patch test may be effective in helping you decide which chemical peel is the most ideal for your skin condition. Nonetheless, it is recommended that you consult with a dermatologist before trying chemical peeling on your skin, especially your face.

If you are frequently dealing with acne scarring, don’t fret just yet. There are number of chemical peels for acne scars that prove to be effective and safe to use at home. Ask help from a dermatologist to figure out which product works for you best.

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